Don’t people do anything for themselves anymore?
Last night as I was putting away the food processor after having made a batch of fake sour cream I realized the blade needed sharpening.
The carrots and beets are due in from the garden soon and they need to be frozen. Chopping is part of the deal and the sharper the blade the better the result.
So I did what I have doing for more than 40 years -- I got a sharpening stone and did it myself.
I have two such stones. They’re flat and gray and originally belonged to my late Uncle Gil, a dentist. They were part of his dental tools. I don’t know whether he got newer, better ones or what, but he didn’t need these particular stones any longer so he gave them to my dad when I was eight.
Dad showed me how to sharpen a knife shortly thereafter and I took to it. It’s fun and it’s satisfying. I have a great sense of accomplishment from turning a dull blade into a fine edge in a matter of moments.
When I was 10 dad gave me one of the stones and I’ve always had it with me. I’ve kept the knives keen wherever I lived.
But once I did let things go. One day in the latter part of the 1990s my parents were visiting for Thanksgiving and dad set about chopping the ingredients for the stuffing.
I was busy close by when I heard a kind, if disappointed, voice, “Leah, this knife is terribly dull.”
Dad put the edge on that knife for me, but never again have I let any knife under my care get dull.
I have his sharpening stone now too and I have no clue which was whose, but I was using one of them yesterday when I wondered how many other people would do this themselves?
Many people sharpen their own knives though it’s unlikely that many of them use a dental stone to do it
But a blade on a food processor? No, I bet that gets sent out to a pro.
My guess is the chief difference between me and the pro is technique. The pro likely does a downward pass on one side of the blade then flips it over and does a pass on the other side and continues back and forth until done.
I do one side at a time and use an up and down motion. It’s what my dad did, and it’s how he taught me to do it, and my edges can carve a translucent slice from a ripe tomato.
I also wondered if people know it’s okay to sharpen a serrated-edged knife? If one side is flat, you sharpen the flat side. It’s that simple.
Taking care of knives is also simple, but like so many simple things in life we’ve surrendered them to the pros because we’ve forgotten that we can do it ourselves.